Visit the Business section of any major bookshop and you will find a yard and a half of change management text books. Each setting out the authors 'Framework for Change', proffered as THE systematic and step by step guide to effective delivery of business transformation.
Equally every major consultancy or project management qualification will offer its 'own-brand' methodology as a USP for their services.
There are several good reasons for the growth of this cottage industry of framework development around change management. First and foremost, while the language and structure may vary, most frameworks will ensure that the fundamentals of defining the change and engaging positively with key stakeholders and audiences are delivered. More practically, standardising methodology across a programme or even a business avoids much unnecessary re-invention of documentation, tools, templates; enabling knowledge transfer and underpinning continuous improvement as experience accumulates. Finally, there is the benefit that if the chosen framework is used consistently, over time the business develops a degree of comfort with the language and rhythm of change, a key component of change resilience. The positive spin-off being that a communicable framework can make a notoriously intangible aspect of transformation delivery more accessible for sponsors, project managers and other stakeholders. The downside risk is that over-reliance on methodology risks reducing change management to a 'paint by numbers' exercise.
What differentiates smart change managers is the ability and confidence to recognise when to play it tight and when to play it loose. A rounded and holistic approach to change supported by a clearly defined set of milestones, deliverables and metrics that are owned by the project and embedded in the overall project plan is a fundamental hygiene factor for any change manager. The art that comes with experience is to retain a clear line of sight on the desired outcome and be confident to flex the change management approach as the project unfolds and new perspectives or challenges emerge.
For example, this might mean:
Outcome-led change management demands a more dynamic approach to planning, executing and tomanaging the expectations of the many and varied stakeholders who depend on those outcomes. The return on this investment is being able to deliver more effective and sustainable change.